They are among the most powerful bureaucrats of Chhattisgarh — one an Additional Chief Secretary and the other a Joint Secretary and the longest-serving OSD (officer on special duty) to Chief Minister Raman Singh. However, when Amitabh Bachchan and Kaun Banega Crorepati came calling on September 28, even they couldn’t control their excitement.
At a recording of the TV show in the city, the two officers and their wives who were occupying prime seats, courtesy VIP passes, got on to the stage and broke into a dance with Bachchan, reportedly to the superstar’s hit Mere angane mein tumhara kya kaam hai.
Both were last week served a written “reprimand notice” for “behaviour unbecoming of an officer” by Chief Secretary Vivek Dhand, on the orders of the CM. The notice warned them against such behaviour in public in the future.
While Additional Chief Secretary M K Rout heads the important departments of Panchayat, Rural and Labour, Raman Singh’s OSD Vikram Sisodia is also the vice-president of the Chhattisgarh Olympic Association and president of the Chhattisgarh Tennis Association.
The show in question is yet to be aired, and except for those present at the recording, few know what exactly the officers did to invite the CM’s ire. According to sources, someone complained to Raman Singh about their behaviour.
Said an officer: “It’s not about dancing on stage. It’s the way officers conduct themselves. They must maintain decorum and should not be seen jumping queues and joining the public to dance.”
Asked about the notice, Rout, who is not in Raipur, said: “I have absolutely no idea.” Sisodia, who didn’t deny having danced, too claimed not to know about the notice. “I will have to check,” he said.
There are others who see the episode as the handiwork of the officers who themselves couldn’t make it to the TV show’s recording. “What’s wrong in dancing with the mahanayak (superstar)?” said an officer. “What wrong did they commit?”
Incidentally, the CM had himself courted Bachchan in Raipur, with the state machinery ensuring that Singh’s house was the first halt of the star in the city. Bachchan then visited several forthcoming projects — a fact promptly publicised — after which the state government announced that the actor had agreed to lend his voice to the state’s promotion.